EU Justice and Home Affairs Council agrees on common asylum policy
08 June 2023
Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser: We have demonstrated today that we Europeans act together.
“Today, we have taken historic decisions for a Common European Asylum System,” Federal Minister of the Interior and Community Nancy Faeser said following the meeting of EU home affairs ministers in Luxembourg on 8 June 2023. “And we have demonstrated that we Europeans act together – after years of deadlock and dispute.”
The European home affairs ministers met to discuss the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg. The negotiations focused on draft regulations developed by the current Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU on the basis of proposals made by the European Commission.
The agreement will finally enable Europe to ensure reliable and orderly migration management and to adopt a new migration policy based on more solidarity, Federal Minister Faeser said.
What has the Justice and Home Affairs Council agreed on?
Procedures for asylum seekers from countries with a low recognition rate at the EU’s external borders
In future, decisions on the status of people with very little chance of receiving protection in the EU will be taken at the EU’s external borders. People who stand no chance of being granted the right to remain in the EU would have to return from the external borders to their home countries.
“We are committed to ensuring high rule-of-law standards and consistent protection of human rights during these procedures” Federal Minister Faeser said.
“We want everyone to have access to a fair asylum procedure.”
Thanks to Germany’s initiative, unaccompanied children and young people do not have to face the border procedures and can enter the EU directly. Together with Luxembourg, Ireland and Portugal, the federal minister had worked to ensure that this rule also applied to children and young people accompanied by their parents; however, she was unable to secure the acceptance of the majority of EU member states.
“Germany will continue to advocate for this during the upcoming negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament,” Faeser explained, adding that she had made Germany’s position regarding the best possible protection of children very clear and submitted it in a protocol note.
Compulsory solidarity with heavily burdened frontline countries
The home affairs ministers also decided that solidarity with the heavily burdened member states at the EU’s external borders should no longer be voluntary but compulsory. In future, member states that refuse to take in refugees would be required to make compensation payments.
With regard to this issue, Federal Minister Faeser stated: “
All member states have a responsibility. In future, this responsibility will be distributed more equally. Solidarity with regard to the distribution of refugees is part of the overall package.”
Federal Minister Feaser explained that the Mediterranean countries in particular could only carry out asylum procedures if they knew that people would return to their countries of origin or if other EU member states would provide support in admitting them.
“In particular, we want to ensure that the terrible loss of lives in the Mediterranean Sea is finally stopped by means of regulated migration,” Federal Minister Faeser said.
Further decisions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council
In addition, the home affairs ministers agreed to reform the Dublin regulations to significantly speed up procedures and thus reduce irregular secondary movement, i.e. uncontrolled movement to other EU member states.
They also defined clear legal rules based on human rights standards to determine whether people may also be granted protection in and transferred to a safe third country.
Within the EU, common minimum standards will apply for taking in, housing and providing for persons seeking protection. The procedures for admitting people on humanitarian grounds will be harmonised across the EU.
“Migration can only be managed at European level”
Federal Minister Faeser said in Luxembourg that it was absolutely clear that no European country could manage migration on its own. That is why it was so important to make progress on the negotiations and reach an agreement, she added.
“Our position as Germany’s Federal Government was very clear: We want to save the Europe of open borders – because the Schengen system of open internal borders is indeed at risk if there are no reliable checks at the EU’s external borders,” Faeser explained.